With the disruption from the college strike, my life was in a bit of a disarray.  I was also feeling a bit depressed during the holidays and I caught myself in those moods and found ways to adjust my coping strategies.

I’ve been pretty fortunate in people being able to turn to me in times of distress and i’m happy to have helped a few people work on their mental health over the past couple months. I know for many people opening up about their struggles with depression and anxiety can be tough, but I have always and will always be there to support anyone in need and I have a number of resources to direct people to. I think I will therefore make a goal for 2018 to to take part in Mental Health First Aid and be able to offer support to those around me.

To be honest, I guess I would say 2017 was a year of significant change and self-growth for me. It wasn’t the best year i’ve had but I would argue that it wasn’t the worst. I learned a lot about myself, my values/beliefs, and about those around me and my interactions with others and perspectives on the world have genuinely changed as the year progressed. There are things i’m still working on like how to truly trust others, but I think i’m more able to catch myself in those frame of minds and give people the benefit of the doubt. I firmly believe the more you expose yourself to positive experiences, the less i’ll associate my anxiety and depression to certain events (ex. Christmas time).

2017 did have some adventure to it and I was fortunate to travel with someone who has offered continual support throughout some of life’s most difficult moments. I was fortunate to add Spain and Ireland to my list of places i’ve been and get to see where my lineage came from which was pretty awesome. I’m already looking forward to kicking off 2018 with some adventures across the pond. I’m excited to have wrapped up my Masters degree over the summer and finish with the grade I set out to get. I can’t wait to receive that piece of paper and hang it up on my wall to remind me of the challenges I faced and was able to overcome and where I can go moving forward.

I’m also glad to have ended the year starting completely fresh in my personal life making some small but necessary adjustments to improve my own mental well-being. As I firmly stand, the people who need me have the information they need to reach me and it feels great to let go of the past.

Final exams for my second year of nursing I wrote for last term were highly discouraging and I know I have a lot of adjustments to make this term to hopefully be successful. I know I am not alone when I say that, but regardless it does take a pretty big hit to your self-worth as a student when you write exams that are seemingly much harder than what you were prepared for. I must say, despite writing some pretty awful exams (and I mean 60s) I still managed to pass last term with and am surprised I even managed to pull off a B in pharmacology. I know this term will be even more difficult with the addition of microbiology and stats but i’m hoping with some changes in study habits and improvements in my concentration I will be successful. I know no one said nursing school would be easy, but they really did not emphasize how hard it actually was.

I’m moreso proud of myself for successfully passing my first clinical rotation. There aren’t any words to really describe your first clinical experience except you feel lost, confused, and like you don’t know anything especially when given your very first solo patient assignment. Let alone when patients are looking at you and watching what you’re doing and nurses are talking to you about your treatment plan. I was given some pretty challenging cases by my preceptor (generally not given to second years) but managed to pull it together and learn quite a bit. Losing out on 5 weeks of a strike in the big picture isn’t a lot, but in the moment it felt worse than it was. Having so many disruptions really takes a toll on my groups (and other classmates) ability to practice our skills and discover and address our learning gaps. However, i’m incredibly proud of the people I had in my group for creating a supportive environment for all of us to grow and success and pass our rotation.

Over the term I grew not only as a student nurse but as an advocate for my patients. I’m grateful for my experience pursuing my Master’s and believe that it’s really helped me to gain a better understanding of my patients as a whole and seemingly it was evident in post-conference talks and the work I turned in. It was even more rewarding to sit down with my tutor for my final evaluation and be recognized for the issues I brought up and the work I put into helping the rest of my group. I feel empowered and encouraged to continue on the path i’m on and to know others have recognized my passion for making a difference in not only healthcare but within my community. I’m grateful to have had such a supportive tutor to guide me through the term and firmly believe that in time I will help change the face of nursing in the role of policy advising to the top levels of government even when it was hard for me to gauge where I was at.

While my next rotation in general medicine will help me build my foundational skills, it still sucks that I lost out on such a great opportunity being in a chest unit. I know in time these rotations help us figure out where we want to do our final consolidations, but i’ll be even more excited (if things go well this term) to get into peds and maternal units.

With this terrible bone-chilling cold weather I am excited to head back to England in a couple weeks to see some good friends and walk across the stage to collect my degree. Hard work has slowly paid off and i’m even moreso excited to see where 2018 will take me in my nursing journey. Therefore, I think a second goal I have for 2018 is to get more involved in community and nursing advocacy through the RNAO, ONA, and CNA as a student member.

Hopefully i’ll get over this cold and actually start the new year on a fresh foot soon. I know it’s cold and flu season, so I remind everyone to practice that HAND HYGIENE.

Cheers,

M

 

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